Lexington, Kentucky, USA – October 08, 2023 – Portugal’s Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) made his first trip to Kentucky a memorable one as he capped off the the Lugano Diamonds Split Rock Jumping Tour’s (SRJT) Hunter Jumper Fall Series with the feature win in the $110,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI 3* aboard his new partner, Scoop de Septon Z (Hunters Scendro x Echo van’t Spieveld), owned by Eliano Meroni.
Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) set forth a 16-effort track that challenged athletes representing eleven nations across a variety of technical elements in the Rolex Stadium. The clear rounds came early from the second, third and fifth in the order as Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) paved the way with Lost Lake Farm LLC’s Copycat and Daisy Farish (USA) followed just after aboard Orwell SCF, owned by Lanes End Showjumping, before Gonçalves and Scoop de Septon Z matched their efforts.
However, the course proved difficult as many of the remaining pairs fell victim down the line from obstacles 10 to 11, which featured a triple combination (consisting of an oxer set two strides to a vertical, one stride out from another oxer) followed by a delicate vertical three strides after. There were also several contenders that found heartbreak at the final fence, including week one’s FEI Grand Prix winners, Peter Petschenig (AUT) and Ennebel van het Posthuijs. It would take 25 more combinations to follow Gonçalves’ clear effort that a four-horse jump-off would be established as Farish earned a second slot with Lanes End Showjumping’s Etonemoi del Cabalero.
Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) and Copycat returned first for the jump-off round producing another clear with ease, clocking in with a time of 39.74 seconds.
The rounds only continued to improve upon each other as Daisy Farish (USA) entered with Orwell SCF, upping the pace to a time of 38.96 seconds.
Her lead would be short-lived as Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) and Scoop de Septon Z followed to edge just ahead with a final time of 38.21 seconds.
Farish had one more chance to reclaim the victory as the last to challenge with Etonemoi del Cabalero. The pair produced the fastest time by nearly two seconds as they navigated the lines and a tight slice at fence 14 in a time of 36.27 seconds, but their quick run to the final fence proved costly as they picked up four faults to seat them in fourth place.
Gonçalves would maintain the leading title, while Farish also earned second place with her first ride, Orwell SCF, and Gallagher captured third.
“I was very excited to win here because I have been in the United States for two years now and I thought it was time I should go to Kentucky,” said Gonçalves of his first visit to the Bluegrass State. “I already told Derek [Braun] that the ground is unbelievable – the horses jump comfortably and the facility is amazing. It’s my first year here and I love it.”
Sunday’s main event culminated three weeks of competition at the Kentucky Horse Park as the closing of the Split Rock Hunter Jumper Fall series followed the first year of the Kentucky National under SRJT. The tour looks next towards its final east coast stop on the 2023 calendar year, as it is scheduled to host CSI 2* competition in Aiken, South Carolina from November 8-12. The week will offer a chance for riders to earn qualification for its $300,000 Split Rock Championship series in Sarasota, Florida, held January 24-28, with the last opportunity to secure qualification given at the Split Rock Fort Worth CSI 4*-W in December.
Final Results – $110,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI 3* – 1.50m
1) Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) & Scoop de Septon Z – 0 / 0 – 38.21
2) Daisy Farish (USA) & Orwell– 0 / 0 – 38.96
3) Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Copycat – 0 / 0 – 39.74
Source: Press Release from Split Rock Jumping Tour
Photos: © SRJT / Winslow Photography